Lady Foothillers finish amazing hoops season as state runner-up

It wasn’t quite the finish the Grossmont High School girls basketball teams desired, but last weekend’s trip to the state championship tournament in Sacramento had to prove an ad­venture of a lifetime.

The Grossmont Lady Foothill­ers — Grossmont Hills League co-champions, San Diego Sec­tion Division I runners-up and Southern California Region Di­vision IV champions — dropped a 47-29 decision to Northern California regional champion Eureka St. Bernard’s Saturday morning to place runner-up in the Division IV state champion­ship game.

Despite the disappointing ending, it was otherwise dream season.

“Only a small percentage of high school athletes get to par­ticipate on the state champion­ship stage, and we were blessed enough to be a part of that small percentage,” Grossmont coach Grace Campbell said. “Our journey and the experiences is something we will never forget.

“Our student athletes sacri­ficed and dedicated countless hours and all of their hard work and dedication paid off. It truly takes a group of competitive, committed and selfless individ­uals to make it that far. Most importantly the players bought it to our way of doing things.

“In the beginning of the sea­son I remember players com­plaining about being out on the track running miles and sprints three times a week. I kept tell­ing them we will be the tough­est, fastest and most condi­tioned team in the East County … We will do so with the upmost respect and we will be on top.

“Also, it’s an honor to have brought the school its first CIF championship for girls basket­ball in 2016 in school history and now the first state regional championship and state run­ners-up.”

Grossmont finished its season 27-9 following the championship game loss.

St. Bernard’s, the top-seeded team in the Northern Califor­nia bracket, defeated second-seeded Arcata, 60-54, to claim the NorCal championship title on March 6 as a qualifier to the state championship final.

The Lady Foothillers, seeded fourth in the Southern Califor­nia bracket, defeated seventh-seeded Fallbrook, 57-52, in the SoCal regional final on March 5 after eliminating top-seeded Newbury Park, 57-39, in the re­gional semifinals on March 2.

The loss in the state final snapped a four-game winning streak accumulated in the re­gional playoffs.

The game’s start didn’t hint at the lopsided ending as both teams played to an 8-8 first-quarter standoff. But the Lady Crusaders (30-5) took control of the game with a 15-4 scoring differential in the second quar­ter leaving the Lady Foothill­ers starting at a 23-12 halftime deficit.

St. Bernard’s out-scored Grossmont 24-17 in a more evenly played second half. The Lady Crusaders topped the La­dy Foothillers 10-8 in the third quarter and 14-9 in the final quarter.

Junior Laila Florvilus led all scorers in the game with 18 points while senior Madelyn Shanahan dropped in 15 points. Freshman Samantha Sundberg was the third St. Bernard’s play­er to score in double digits with 12 points.

Shanahan made the only three-point shot in the contest while matching Florvilus with six free-throws. Senior Kellen Hayden paced Grossmont with 10 points while senior Amethyst Price followed with nine points. Freshman Aakash Price had eight points.

By contrast, the Lady Foot­hillers took control of the re­gional championship game with a 17-6 first-quarter output over Fallbrook (26-9). The opening burst proved pivotal as the Val­ley League champion Lady War­riors outscored the hosts in each of the three remaining quarters.

Fallbrook compiled a 11-10 scoring edge in the second quar­ter to cut somewhat into the commanding Grossmont lead to trail 27-17 at halftime.

The Lady Warriors posted a 35-30 scoring edge in the second half to make the game’s ending even more exciting.

The Lady Foothillers benefit­ted from four players in double figure scoring: Aakash Price (15 points), Amethyst Price (12 points), Hayden (10 points) and senior Dahlia Burke (10 points).

Amethyst led the winners with 10 rebounds while Aakash Price had four steals.

Freshman Grace Nordeen poured in 14 points to lead Fallbrook while senior Claire Nordeen dropped in 12 points. Grace Nordeen grabbed 13 re­bounds while Claire Nordeen collected 10 boards.

In the upset win over New­bury Park (27-8), Grossmont rallied from a 13-9 first-quarter deficit with a monstrous 23-9 second-quarter explosion on the playing court. The third quar­ter was more defensive with the Lady Foothillers claiming a 9-4 scoring advantage.

Grossmont kept its foot on the floorboard by out-scoring the Lady Panthers 16-13 in the final quarter.

Freshman Jaliyah Flem­ing paced the Lady Foothillers with 12 points while Amethyst Price and Aakash Price each scored 10 points. Freshman Ari­onna Simpson and Blake each contributed eight points to the bracket-busting victory.

Fleming sank four of six three-point shots.

Blake and Amethyst Price each had eight rebounds while Aakash Price had six rebounds. Hayden had three steals.

Junior Kimiko Carmer led Newbury Park with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Aakash Price poured in 22 points while Amethyst Price had 10 rebounds to key Grossmont’s 60-41 win over Santa Paula to kick off the SoCal regionals.

Amethyst Price (18) and Aakash Price (17) combined for 35 points as the Lady Foot­hillers’ dynamic duo in a 57-51 quarterfinal win over fifth-seed­ed Crenshaw. Amethyst Price led the victors with 10 rebounds.


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